Ferrari reveal key issue to solve which would unlock Mercedes battle

Michelle Foster
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz during qualifying. Barcelona June 2023. F1 starting grid

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz rounds Turn 5 during qualifying. Barcelona June 2023.

Beaten by Mercedes in Spain, Fred Vasseur firmly believes as soon as Ferrari resolve their inconsistency issues, they’ll be up for the fight.

With Mercedes and Ferrari failing to take the fight to Red Bull this season, both teams opted for a new development path, one that at least when it comes to the sidepods is more Red Bull-esque in its concept.

But while that, together with the new floor and front suspension, saw Mercedes step up to become Red Bull’s closest competitor at the Circuit de Catalunya, for Ferrari it was more of the same. In fact their deficit to Red Bull from Miami to Spain grew by 0.03s per lap.

However, today’s battle for the Scuderia is not Red Bull, Vasseur accepting they are “another story”, instead the team bosses wants his drivers racing Mercedes for the final spot on the podium.

In order for that to happen, Ferrari need to resolve their inconsistency issues with the SF-23.

“I think as soon as we unlock the situation with consistency we can imagine to fight with them all over the race,” he said as per

“With Red Bull it’s another story, especially with [Max] Verstappen. He is still much faster than us in qualy, much faster in the race.” recommends

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While Mercedes have brought a B-spec car to the track, Ferrari’s Barcelona upgrades related to just the sidepods and the floor. They failed to have the same impact as Mercedes’ updates.

Vasseur though insists they have increased the “potential of the car” with the team boss maintaining his opinion that Ferrari have made a step forward.

“An upgrade when you increase the potential of the car, we are speaking about the top,” he said. “You have to think that Mercedes, they are not sleeping.

“Between Miami and today they’ve also brought a big update in Monaco. It means that they are not sleeping.

“But what we can see on our side is that what we brought this week is paying off in terms of pure performance.

“And if you take the picture between Miami before the upgrade of Mercedes and today, I think we made a step forward probably in the performance. Mercedes also.

“We are probably a bit faster in qualy, but far too inconsistent in the race.”

He added: “On the race you could consider that we made a step forward compared to Aston, but it’s far from enough.

“We still have a huge delta in terms of performance with Mercedes, qualy to race. It’s where we have to put all the focus of the company and if we want to come back and to have good races on Sunday so that we are scoring points.”

But consistency, which was the same problem Ferrari had before their Spanish upgrades, remains a cause for concern.

“Mercedes is a good reference because they bought a big package in Monaco and the delta is almost the same,” he concluded. “I think we made a step forward, but consistency is not there.”

Failing to reach the podium in Spain, Ferrari have fallen 187 points behind championship leaders Red Bull while their deficit to P2’s Mercedes is 52 points.